HAPPY NEW YEAR
A MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
NO STONE LEFT ALONE MEMORIAL FOUNDATION
As we look ahead to what is to be another exciting year of growth, I wanted to share with you what we are anticipating for 2018. I wish at this time to thank all the volunteers and donors, who have helped us grow this important program in such a short time.
As the President of No Stone Left Alone, I want you to know that we are 99% volunteer based, and although we are very proud of that, it is not without trials and tribulations. Without the tremendous support of our main volunteers, such as our small administration staff, Board of Directors, Provincial Coordinators, and Ceremony Development Manager, we would not have achieved the amazing success across Canada and beyond.
I would like to share with you some of our great achievements in 2017. Through the words or our students, our veterans, and the community, we are striving to ensure that the integrity of what we do remains intact and secure to be passed down to the next generation.
Anyox Cemetery - British Columbia
The abandoned mining town of Anyox is a community that became one of our jewels in 2018. The Canadian Junior Rangers (from Smithers and Deese Lake schools) helped us honour our fallen at Anyox Cemetery. They had originally planned to take a boat over to the island to place the poppies. Unfortunately, the weather caused the water to be too rough, but that didn’t stop them. Instead they flew by helicopter to the site to ensure the fallen would not be left alone in Remembrance Week.
Transcona Cemetery - Winnipeg, Manitoba
After joining us in 2015, our lead, Peter Martin, has taken his ceremony to a new level. Through the story of his father, Sir Paul Martin, and the Silent Salute, which Peter has incorporated into his event, he truly has taken NSLA into his heart, and as a Legion Veteran, he knows the wonderful synergy NSLA brings to our Legion members. I request reflection letters from all communities, and Peter took it one step further. Before sending them to me, he took some of the letters to the veterans in the seniors' home to have the students read the letters to the residents. He told me some had tears, and the veterans were so warmed by the words of the children. The schools who participated at the Transcona Cemetery are Arthur Day Middle School, Bernie Wolfe Community School, Ecole Regent Park School, John W. Gunn Middle School, and Balmoral School. This is an example of how each community is making it their own.
Rakowicki Cemetery, Krakow, Poland
I certainly do not have the right words to describe the empowerment and honour of attending our first international event. To honour our fallen Canadians in a cemetery so far from home was touching, and all who attended felt it. It is the right thing to do. To hear the beautiful Polish students speaking English so well following our sequence is something that will stay in my heart forever. It now gives us the push to ensure we honour more abroad.
These are just a few of the great events that are occurring in November across Canada, and there are many more, big and small, powerful and thoughtful. These stories tell me that we like-minded Canadians, are holding on to the hope that the dream of a peaceful nation remains.
None of this truly will be happening without our sponsors and donors. Our main sponsors from the beginning, like Purvis Holdings, Maclab Enterprises, Wheaton Group, Post Media, Newcap Radio, and of course, our Live Event Sponsor, Global News, have assisted us to achieve what we have so far. We are working together to ensure our LIVE EVENT from Beechmount Cemetery continues to deliver the message of the importance of remembering and the need to educate our youth.
As we look to 2018, we already have new locations such as Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Drumheller and Hinton, Alberta, Winnipeg (third cemetery), Napinka, Manitoba and many more coming in. The most recent and fascinating requests are for Poznan, Poland, Korea, the Netherlands, England, Scotland, Belgium, and Italy. Although our mission is to honour them all, we will need to make our fundraising efforts grow to be able to support these initiatives, to help begin their events and encourage sustainability in their communities.
The cost of busing is real for our organization. Our events cannot have the success of educating our youth if we can't get them all to the sites. Supporting the cost of a bus is a wonderful thing you can do to help. Some schools have a little more funds than others, and some graciously incur the cost.
Now I know you are bombarded with requests for donations, so I will ask that you think of us in your giving time, whenever that may be. This will ensure that our Edmonton-based charity is supported fully, not only in monies but action. Help us reach them all.
One final thing, please know that I am grateful for each and every one of you. From the cemetery members who go out and mark the headstones, no matter what the weather, to the educators who support the importance of a new way of Remembrance, to our tremendous volunteers who are the heart of NSLA, the ones in office and the ones out at the events setting up, to those offering a cup of hot chocolate on a cold day in November to participants, to the community support such as police, fire, medical, to our website team who work hard to keep up to the growth and inquiries, to the generosity of our repeat supporters, to our dignitaries who free up their calendars for this somber event, and especially to our veterans, those wonderful, brave, humble souls, who come to my office, shake my hand, and give me unwavering support with gratitude, which gives me motivation to keep going.
On behalf of my husband, Randall (my number one supporter and volunteer,) we thank you for all your hard work that has brought us here, to a place we can be proud of in our communities and in our hearts.